For the past 30 years, LifeTalk Radio has been a powerful and practical resource helping to change hearts by sharing the good news of Jesus Christ and connecting people with Christ. Kimberly Luste Maran, an associate director of the North American Division Office of Communication, recently talked with LifeTalk Radio manager and director John Geli about the station’s launch of a children’s streaming channel, LifeTalk Kids, that airs uplifting music and numerous educational and Bible story programs 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Maran: How did the LifeTalk Kids’ streaming channel start?
Geli: With our primary LifeTalk Radio channel we have always emphasized ministering to listeners’ needs and providing programming that is actually going to answer questions or concerns that the listener has, because that’s what Jesus’ model was. He reached people right where they were; then they wanted to hear more. So that’s the same principle we’re trying to incorporate in all that we’re doing.
Listeners to our primary channel asked us about expanding our ministry to include a kids’ streaming channel, and we felt impressed that it was the time to move forward. With lots of thought and prayer, we decided to launch LifeTalkKids.net, a streaming channel dedicated to programming for children 24/7. Our main channel had always included children’s programming, but this new channel would be dedicated to doing that around the clock.
During these past few years, as children were at home, rather than in school, we realized that there was a captive audience ready to listen to Bible-based and uplifting programs every day. Children at home need wholesome entertainment and truth-filled, educational programs. We felt it was important to protect our children and grandchildren from more than a destructive pandemic. We needed to shelter them from the infection of sin. The aim of LifeTalk Kids is to do just that.
We believe that character-building programs can positively influence our children and make a difference for those who will be adults 20 years from now.
The process of launching this channel began in 2019, and after working through many aspects of the launch—planning the programming, gathering funds and equipment, and setting it up in our Tennessee offices—we started our broadcast in November 2020.
What programming do you offer through the broadcast?
With our LifeTalk Kids’ stream, we’re offering families and children character-building programming—programs and music that can empower them and help them make good choices in life. There is a wide variety of programs so that children from a young age through the teen years can find something that attracts them and that they enjoy.
The programs deliver great Bible stories, nature and science education, amazing tales of adventure, and character-building stories. The programs include Bible in Living Sound, Your Story Hour, Adventures in Odyssey, Discovery Mountain, We Kids, Nature Corner, and Awesome Science, as well as audio from the GraceLink Sabbath School curriculum and The Bible Story books.
All of the programs air more than once a day, so that children and families can tune in at a time that works for them and their schedules (see https://lifetalk.net/kids-programs). Having a dedicated kids’ streaming channel has made this possible.
How can listeners access LifeTalk Kids?
We have just one app for LifeTalk Radio. When you go there, you have the options to listen to the primary LifeTalk Radio programming or, at the top right, there’s a little button that says “Listen Kids.” So you click on the kids’ side. We wanted it all together so people could just go to one place and get what they want; it’s very easy with the app. Listeners can also listen via our website (www.LifeTalk.net), on Alexa, and on TVs with Roku installed.
How has this resource helped families and children during the pandemic?
At a time when so many kids were at home, parents could turn to this as a resource. Kids were already online so much for school and other things. It also provided, and still provides, an alternative to watching TV.
In deciding on the programming for the station, we felt that it was important that we help kids feed their imagination. Our kids have lost the ability to imagine, because they’re stuck to a computer screen or a tablet that is telling them and showing them every single thing, basically leaving them with no need to imagine.
When you listen to Discovery Mountain, for example, and they’re talking about their campsite in a mountain setting, and then there’s Blue Birdy, the plane, and all that that’s coming through, and suddenly you’re taken to this campfire, this campsite that’s somewhere in Colorado, and you’re transported there, and you’re a part of these kids’ adventure and having a great time.
The great thing about this is that the kids are allowing their imagination to grow. Instead of having a tablet where children watch a TV screen or cartoons all the time, this is offering a positive alternative.
What are some ways to share this resource with others?
Our listeners had been asking us: Is there any way we could share this great kids’ programming with our friends? They would say, I’d like to share it with our Sunday School class, or I’d like to tell our Sabbath School class about it. So we hit upon the idea to do stickers. We already had two stickers for adults, so we were able to create a library of stickers for kids—we have nine in all. All of them say “I Love LifeTalk Kids” and feature a small group of children or one child smiling and outfitted with headphones.
In addition to the stickers, we also offer “program cards,” which promote several of our programs with the words “Kids grow better with radio, Fuel their imagination.” These we have been able to share at various health fairs and other similar venues.
In addition to our regular LifeTalk Radio channel cards, we also have digital e-cards and sharing cards at our website that specifically correspond with the LifeTalk Kids channel. We have learned that a number of Pathfinder groups have ordered our cards, and they’re going out to the community, sharing the cards.
We also had requests for Bible study guides for kids. So there’s a place on our website to find them. We have partnered with several Adventist sites, including ones such as the Hope Bible Study, which is a Bible study curriculum offered by the Hope Channel. All of these resources are free and accessible through our website. To see and order the free LifeTalk Kids program cards, printed sharing cards, and stickers, visit www.LifeTalk.net and click on the “Resources” button. Or, call 1-805-955-7629 to order.
Talk about the impact of LifeTalk Kids.
As with our main broadcast, our kids’ channel is reaching children and families throughout the United States and around the world. It is providing them with daily music and programs that are enriching their minds and connecting them to Christ. In just one and a half years it has been a positive influence, and we expect to continue growing as more people hear about it.
Check out what listeners have to say, from the April 2020 LifeTalk Radio newsletter and from station director/manager John Geli himself.
“My kids like it, and I like it! I like the music, the programs, all of it! It is wonderful, especially for a homeschool mom like me.”
“As a grandparent I see how my grandchildren are involved with their electronic devices. But fortunately, each of these devices will play LifeTalk Radio. I want my grandkids to have continual access to quality programs that help shape their character.”
“With 24/7 kids programming, my kids can tune in when it fits our family schedule, and as parents we can trust what they are hearing is Christ-centered and building their characters for eternity.”
“I recently found your site and think it is great. My kids love it. Thanks for providing excellent, wholesome programming for our kids.”
“I really enjoy your kids radio station. My daughter and I listen together every morning before school, and I continue listening throughout the day.”
“I am thankful for LifeTalk because it introduced my daughter to godly women in history — Clara Barton, Helen Keller. And to Jesus.”
“The website [LifeTalkKIDS.net] is fantastic! I’ve added it to our Children’s Ministries Resources page on our [Conference] website.”
LifeTalk Radio Marks 30 Years of Ministry
Started in 1992 and first broadcasting on KSOH 89.5 in Yakima, Washington, LifeTalk Radio is a radio ministry that has been connecting people to Christ through talk programs and Christian inspirational music for 30 years.
Today the programming of the radio network can be heard on more than 200 full-time and part-time affiliate stations across North America and around the world, many of which are owned and operated by local churches. The signal is also available internationally and on a mobile app.
LifeTalk Radio is a ministry of the North American Division (NAD), and the only radio network owned by the NAD. They broadcast primarily Adventist programming, including Lifestyle Magazine, and programs from Breath of Life, the Voice of Prophecy, Hope Channel, It Is Written, and Amazing Facts.